The Ucas deadline in May will be extended to give students more time to make their final university choices, says UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant.
The move is in response to the cancellation of A-levels, BTECs and other level 3 qualifications due to the coronavirus outbreak.
We have made the decision to give students more time to make their decisions about their future
It follows days of confusion surrounding university admissions, in which a number of HE providers converted conditional offers to unconditional offers. The Office for Students (OfS) and universities minister Michelle Donelan have since intervened to ask universities to refrain from changing their offers and thus maintain the integrity of the university admissions system.
Time to reflect
Clare Marchant, UCAS’ chief executive, said: “Following today’s message from the Government on university admissions, we have made the decision to give students more time to make their decisions about their future.
“Normally most students would have until early May to make decisions on their offers, but in line with the Government announcement this deadline will be extended by two weeks.
“Universities and colleges will also have additional time to assess applications and adjust their processes in these unprecedented times.
“We will email students this week with information on their new May decision deadline, and ensure they understand they have additional time over the coming weeks to make their decisions.
“This will give students, teachers, universities, and colleges time to reflect on their decisions and allow for further information on calculated grades and qualification awarding, such as A levels, BTECs, and the International Baccalaureate to be shared.
‘We expect the admissions cycle to run broadly similar to previous years’
“It’s important that students and teachers understand that we expect the admissions cycle to run broadly similar to previous years, with the flexibility for applicants to make choices throughout the rest of the year and a clearing process over the summer.
“In delaying May undergraduate deadlines, we can help keep the system fair to all and promote appropriate and informed decision-making.
“Following today’s announcement, we want to let students know we are still here to provide support and our teams are on hand over the phone and across social media to help during these very difficult times.’
UCAS manages almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 370 universities and colleges across the UK.
The original Ucas deadline for many students to choose their firm and insurance offers was 5 May 2020. HE providers then had until 6 May to decide on all applications received by 15 January.
The exact dates for the new deadlines will be announced soon.